There's an elephant in the room - Why are these animals resistant to cancer?

Less than 5% of elephants die from cancer. Why?

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Although the average lifespan of an elephant is about 60 years, many live quite a bit longer. Some have been documented to live over 80 years! Despite their large size, which requires trillions of more cells than humans, and their age, elephants rarely get cancer. 

Some researchers are turning to this pachyderm and other organisms to uncover evolution's secret cancer fighting strategies. A study published in Cell Reports found that a gene found in elephants (LIF6) is upregulated in response to DNA damage through the p53 pathway. This signaling cascade induces apoptosis. Their findings suggest that this mechanism might underlie the elephant's resistance to cancer. 

These findings were featured in this CNN news article: https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/14/health/elephant-cancer-zombie-genetics-study/index.html


Marie-Elizabeth Barabas

Managing Editor, Springer Nature

I'm an interdisciplinary neuroscientist with a research background in peripheral sensory/pain research, retinoblastoma, retinal development, and stem cell research. As the Managing Editor of npj Precision Oncology, my role is to assist the editorial process, implement editorial policies, and promote the journal, its articles, and the community. I also attend conferences and meetings to develop a relationship with our readers, authors, and editors. If you see me at a conference, feel free to introduce yourself.

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